By Boy Scouts of America
Jul 07, 2015

Cub Scout 411 Roundtable: Resources for Packs and Den Leaders

Cub Scout Guide Ethan

Cub Scout Guide Ethan shows your boys the way in each edition of the handbook.

Over the last few months we have presented blog roundtable sessions to help all Cub Scout leaders prepare for the launch of the new program materials. This month’s focus is on Resources for Packs and Dens.

This article is seventh and final  in a series of program updates from the 411 Task Force. These include:

January—Program Support for Den Leaders
March—Program Planning for Dens
April—New Pack Meeting Plans
May—Aquatic Adventures
June—Campfire Programs
July—Resources for Packs and Den Leaders

These subjects should also be presented at your local Cub Scout Roundtables each month.

Resources for Packs and Den Leaders

Comments from units as to how they responded to the new materials:

Nearly late to church yesterday because my Bear -­‐ who got his book on Saturday -­‐ was floating eggs in water when I came out of my bedroom … “just doing an investigation, mom”. Looks like the leaders aren’t the only ones anxious to get this started!  I was at my troop meeting last night and was talking to a new parent who has 3 boys, the oldest of which just joined our troop. She is in love with the new Cub Scouting program. Her middle child wanted to drop out of Scouting.  After seeing the new books, he became really excited about Cub Scouts. Her 1st grade Tiger is not a reader by any means, but he sat down after she bought the new book and was mesmerized.  He was fascinated by it. The 5th grader, who just crossed over, wanted to go back and be a Webelos again in the new program.

C___, (third son to take part in program), wearing his plastic armor, just brought his Tiger book to me to read the Knight Adventure section.  He is more than a little excited about being a Cub Scout, and I think the new Tiger program is definitely an improvement over the old one!

The new Cub Scout advancement program was launched on June 1, and boys and families have already started using the materials at day camp, resident camp, and during summer-time den and pack events. If your pack starts its annual program at the beginning of the traditional school year in August or September, you can be ready by using the time remaining this summer to build a plan featuring the new program materials that will lay the groundwork for a well-organized program launch starting in the fall.

Annual program planning is nothing new, it has always been a common attribute of all successful Cub Scout packs. Cub Scouting’s new program materials provide every pack with a great opportunity to recalibrate— and rededicate—its program to the values of Scouting at an annual program planning meeting.

Handbooks-new-featuredYOUTH RESOURCES

Youth handbooks:

  • Completely revised and re-written
  • Serves as the youth’s guide through the program
  • Outlines advancement system
  • Outlines additional available recognition
  • Written with youth interests in mind; feedback from  adults and youth


I love the rationale listed at the beginning of each adventure in the book.  I know the authors worked hard on those as they created the adventures, but including them for us to see is also great.  It helps us answer questions from parents and helps us prepare for each meeting.

I LOVE the way the beginning of each Den Leader Guide reinforces everything we say in the Den Leader training. I can’t wait until I can get my hands on enough copies to use them IN training. And for those Den Leaders who can’t access face-­‐to-­‐face training, everything they need is right in the guides.

I’m not giddy about the new program or anything. Nope, not at all. Those Den Leader Guides are amazing!

leader guidesNew den leader guide books now are available to support den-level programs at each level: Tiger, Wolf, Bear, and Webelos/Arrow of Light. Each of these guides maps out in great detail what materials are needed to run a high interest program for the boys in your den. After using your den level’s guide in consonance with the Cub Scout handbook to lay out a basic plan for your den-level adventures, use the range of additional support materials available, such as the Cub Scout Leader How-to Book, Den and Pack Ceremonies, and more, to add richness and depth, otherwise known as fun! 

New leader guidebooks are:

  • Designed as a “one stop” reference to lead the new Cub Scouting adventures
  • Preserves historic den meeting structure
  • Full set of resources to organize and lead den meetings
  • Materials may be “passed down” to leaders using the program the following year
  • Pilot testing affirmed that leaders were able to use the program materials to efficiently plan and deliver the den meetings as designed


Pack Meeting Plans:


Substantial Revisions
Leader Book:  Key resource to operate a Cub Scouting Pack

Ceremonies Book:  Additional Ceremonies for den and Pack meetings

Terminology Revisions
Leader How-­‐To Book:  Additional program resources to supplement den and Pack program, the How-­‐To Book now reflects the terminology used with the new Cub Scouts adventures

BALOO continues to serve as the required training to lead Pack camping; the new training syllabus now reflects the terminology used with the new Cub Scouts adventures


New training guides for Cubmaster/Assistant Cubmaster, Den Leader, and Pack Committee (i.e., Pack Committee Challenge) were released early this year as in-person position-­‐specific training has been updated to support the new program materials; each is available via Den Leader Specific Training

  • Den Leader Position-­‐Specific Training no. 515-215:  This course is intended to provide Tiger, Wolf, Bear, and Webelos den leaders with the information and tools they need to conduct successful den meetings. Den leaders who complete the Tiger, Wolf, Bear, and Webelos training, along with Youth Protection Training, are considered “trained” for their position.

Online training courses for Cubmasters, den leaders, committee chairs and members, and chartered organization representatives have been totally revised with help from volunteers from around the country.  Content is structured in smaller sections to allow leaders to take the training when time is available.  It will make training accessible when they want it, and how they want it.

With that in mind, each new training was organized around a new leader’s needs – in categories such as “Before Your First Meeting”, “First 30-­‐Days”, “First 90-­‐Days”, and “Trained”.

All of this training was developed to be implemented in conjunction with the BSA’s new learning management system. For more information, visit MyScouting Tools (logging in through later this Fall.

In addition to formalized training, a new on-­‐demand learning resource will launch this Fall to assist leaders in delivering fun and engaging meetings.  From den meeting plans, to ideas on executing the new adventure requirements, the “Learning Library” will be a resource that leaders and parents alike can access to find information about the Cub Scouting program.  Launching this fall at 


As always, pack-level planning centers on major pack activities, such as pack family campouts, day camp and resident camp opportunities, and monthly pack meetings. Under the new Adventure Program, each month’s meeting should correspond to a point of the Scout Law. In addition, each plan should follow a theme to help make the pack meeting even more fun. Help for creating your pack meeting plans can be found by visiting programupdates. The plans you will find do not have to be used in a specific order, but some do have reminders to include activities from the required adven- tures to help the Scouts advance in rank.

Planning is meant to be easy and straightforward: using the calendar in the den leader guide book, map out the required adventures for your rank. Be sure to look at any local issues that may impact the adventures you select, such as weather and school holidays. After you map out the required adventures, map out the elective adventures that your boys would like to complete. Bring these with you to the pack’s annual planning meeting.

Several of the required adventures have a requirement that suggests or requires completion at a pack meeting, but den-level planning should be a part of pack program planning as well. With an expanded set of elective adventures for boys to explore, den leaders may wish to consult with the boys in the den to see what they would like to accomplish. Pack leaders should work with the den leaders to plan when these activities will take place.


Completing these tasks – planning, preparation, and training – will help your pack with recruitment this fall. New parents will see a well-planned program in place, trained leaders to help deliver the program, and will want their boys to be a part of that program. A well-planned pack and den- level program also will encourage new parents to lend a hand during their first year, helping to develop them into future den or pack leaders.

Focus  on  fidelity….  using  the  materials  to  support  and  deliver  the  program  as designed

  • All materials were designed to help leaders deliver a program that is more fun for boys and simpler for leaders to implement
  • Use the materials as designed to support a great program to see enhanced retention for both boys and leaders
  • Remember to Keep it Simple and Make it Fun!

Author: 411 Task Force | Boy Scouts of America


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